The trial "car ban" in Colchester High Street is helping to improve shoppers' experience in the town centre — and should continue for its full 18 months.
We request that the Essex County Council order for the trial to end early is rescinded.
Since the scheme began it has been wonderful to be able to walk along Colchester High Street without the roar of rat-running cars. It has been great to breathe cleaner air. It has been super to be able to cross the road — wherever you want — without squeezing through a car jam. Buses have been running to time and cyclists and pedestrians have felt safer.
Major traders and shopping precincts, and the Chamber of Commerce, either supported or did not object to the trial. It was backed by shops including Miller's Stationery and Greyfriars Books. Companies with shops elsewhere reported that takings and footfall reflected national trends.
The scheme had a rocky start caused by inevitable resistance to change, weighted press coverage and the cold weather. There were snags but that is what the test period was for: to sort out problems (especially those faced by disabled people).
A vociferous lobby of small traders were against it — but theirs was a negative campaign: they cannot agree on an alternative.
Unfortunately, the county council ordered an end to the scheme despite there being no life-or-death reason for such swift action. This decision has more to do with Punch and Judy politics and a looming election — the Conservatives (ECC) versus the Lib Dems and Labour (CBC). The politicians concerned must be taken to task. This is not a game, it is not about individual egos. What is at stake is future investment in our retail centre and the prominence of Colchester as a regional town.
Once issues regarding the disabled are tackled, the benefits for the many will far outweigh the disadvantages for the few.
Ms Killian, please use your influence to ensure the trial continues for the full period.
NB: Elections are pending, so this petition is addressed to ECC chief executive Joanna Killian rather than a politician.